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Hepatology. 1991 Feb;13(2):364-75.

Effects of cytokines on the liver.

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Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Universit├Ąt Freiburg, Federal Republic of Germany.


Cytokines are essential for the communication not only between the liver and extrahepatic sites but also within the liver itself. Cytokines regulate the intermediary metabolism of amino acids, proteins, carbohydrates, lipids and minerals. Cytokines partially interact with classical hormones such as glucocorticoids, resulting in a complex network of mutual control. Since many cytokines exert growth factor-like activities in addition to their specific proinflammatory effects, the distinction between cytokines and growth factors is somewhat artificial. The liver is an important site of synthesis and the major clearance organ for several cytokines. In liver disease, cytokines are involved in the onset of intrahepatic immune responses (e.g., during viral hepatitis), in liver regeneration (e.g., after partial hepatectomy) and in the fibrotic and cirrhotic transformation of the liver such as chronic chemical injury or viral infection. Further studies of cytokine actions may lead to a better understanding of liver diseases and to the development of new immunomodulating therapeutic options.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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